What I carry and why…
What I need to carry, I carry. What I don’t need stays at home for when I do need it.
The items listed below; fit me well, are functional, are durable enough, and don’t weigh too much. My pack weight is always reasonable. The items I get are typically light but not the lightest. There is a balance between weight and durability. My decisions on what to carry are not made based entirely on weight. It is based on what the trip will require. Anyone who has repeated trails rarely has the same type of weather conditions at the same geographic location. So, one has to be prepared for whatever weather one may reasonably encounter. What is listed below is what my experience has told me I should carry. Some items I don’t use on a daily basis, but not too many go unused.
None of the gear choices I have made are made out of brand allegiance gained through sponsorship. If I don’t believe in it. I won’t carry it. Other brands and items work. However, these are the items I have boiled down all my experience into choosing for myself, and can solidly recommend to others.
3 Season Gear
This is my go to pack, and has been for years. It is large enough to fit late season insulation layer bulk and a bear canister. I have also logged many miles with a ULA Circuit, ULA CDT, and the ULA Ohm.
Tent – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1
I love the Copper Spur UL1! The side entrance and ceiling height are what I love the most. It is a few ounces heavier than the Fly Creek, but the weight is worth the extra room and ease of entry.
Bag – Western Mountaineering Terralite 25°F is my go to sleeping bag for solo trips.
The Western Mountaineering Sycamore 25°F w/ overfill is what I pack when Yogi and I hike together. We have opposing zippers and zip them together.
This bag is awesome. It is a semi-rectangular sleeping bag with a hood! I prefer the overfill for this bag with the additional fill weight the insulation weight is in line with 20°F Western Mountaineering sleeping bags.
Silk Liner- Western Mountaineering Tioga Silk Liner
The WM Tioga Liner is a new addition it replaced a liner I used for 9 years. These may seem like a luxury item, but I find them to be a necessity. I love the addition of a liner for two reasons. The additional warmth and it keeps my sleeping bags cleaner.
The All Season pad has a great R value to weight ratio and features I like. It is a rectangular pad most pads are tapered, mummy shaped designs. The rectangular shape helps prevent your legs from falling off the sleeping pad all night. Also as a couple, you can strap the 2 rectangular pads together to make a wider sleeping area. The Pro Lite fabric is very durable.
Base Layer is a bit of a misnomer for how I layer. I typically use them as sleeping layers unless it is really cold out or my capilene 2 top for the early morning hours. My next to skin layer is my TNF Vaporwick short sleeve shirt and my ExOfficio Boxer Briefs. On top of those, I will usually wear a Capilene 2 long sleeve crew neck in the morning for my top. My legs are usually warm enough without the long bottoms.
Mid Layer – Rab PS Ziptop
This is my favorite clothing item out of anything I wear. It is as warm as my lightest down jacket, and it wicks sweat away almost as fast as a capilene. This Polartec Powerstretch fabric performs wonderfully. This is so versatile it can be hiked in and wet out with sweat and it isn’t a big deal. You can’t do the same with a down jacket because it would take hours maybe days to dry out. This with a wind shell amazingly warm. Unless it is an extremely late season or early season hike I don’t carry a down jacket anymore.
Action Layer – TNF Vaporwick Shirt, TNF Taggart Convertible Pant
The shirts I wear are no longer in production. The North Face still uses the fabric in a shirt with a different graphic. It is VaporWick fabric, it feels like cotton and performs really well. The Taggart pant I love. The 4-way stretch fabric is extremely durable, and the zip off legs are convenient.
Socks – Darn Tough Micro Crew 3 pair
I have been using Darn Tough socks for tons of hiking, and overall I am happy with them. I seem to get about 375 miles out of a pair in the three states the PCT runs through. On the Appalachian trail the soil is much less abrasive, and I logged 8,000 miles with 3 pairs of Darn Toughs.
I pack these items every trip no matter what time of year.
Wind Jacket and Pants- Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody, Marmot DriClime Pants
A wind layer is something I have started to love wearing. It is either just a shell or the lined DriClime. The anticipated temperatures will dictate whether I bring the lined DriClimes or not. Unless it is raining too I don’t use my rain jacket for a wind layer. It helps my rain shells last longer.
Recently I upgraded my OR Helium II jacket to a Marmot Bantamweight, and I am quite pleased with the I have used it. The laser perforated underarm allows the jacket to breathe better than any lightweight shell I have ever used. The ULA kilt is still rolling around in my gear closet it is perfect for the PCT. For colder temps, I carry the Rab Alpine Latok eVent shells. They are heavy, expensive, but they are durable.
Footwear – Patagonia Drifter A/C
Water Filtration – Sawyer Squeeze Filter
Stuff Sacks – (2) Sea to Summit Evac Dry Sack, Granite Gear Air Bags (3) 3 liter, (2) 5 liter, (2) 7 liter
Headlamp – (2) Black Diamond Spot Headlamps
Bug Protection – Pete’s Headnet
Trekking Poles – Leki Corklite
Bear Canister – Bear Vault BV500
GPS – Garmin Etrex 20
Wrist top Computer ( aka my watch)- Suunto Vector (altimeter, chronometer, barometer, and compass)